It’s true. That headline is not in the least bit hyperbolic. During a phone interview with Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene, Wayne Coyne went to pretty great lengths to diss Win and his troops. According to Rolling Stone, the Flaming Lips frontman and Green were talking about “the movers and shakers in the music world” when the subject shifted from Brian Eno to Radiohead to Arcade Fire (of course). RS also notes that “Coyne is not comparing Eno to the Arcade Fire — Eno was just a talking point.” He actually has many talking points.

Via Rolling Stone:

“I’m a fan of them on one level, but on another level I get really tired of their pompousness … We’ve played some shows with them and they really treat people like shit. Whenever I’ve been around them, I’ve found that they not only treated their crew like shit, they treated the audience like shit. They treated everybody in their vicinity like shit. I thought, ’Who do they think they are?’ I don’t know why people put up with it. I wouldn’t put up with it. I don’t care if it’s Arcade Fire or Brian Eno. If either of them walked into a room and treated people like shit I’d be like, ’Fuck you, get outta here.’

… People treat Arcade Fire like they’re the greatest thing ever and they get away with it. Those sort of opinions change my view of their music. They have good tunes, but they’re pricks, so fuck ’em. Who does Arcade Fire think they are? I’ve been around groups. I’ve been around the Edge from U2 and he’s the fucking sweetest guy ever. I was around Justin Timberlake when he was young and he was just a normal, nice, kind person. Anyone can be polite and kind and people who have the privilege and money and attention should understand that. If they don’t, then fuck ’em.”

Party on, Wayne. [Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty]

Comments (266)
  1. I’m on Wayne’s side. How can you argue with the nicest guy in the world?

    Now if Robert Smith had said this…..

    • zep  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

      so how many days til wayne comes out to “clarify” his comments?

      • uhh yeah  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +3

        not his style. that’s the beauty of the man. in a day and age where everyone is so protective of his or her image, wayne coyne simply doesn’t give half of a fuck.

  2. Sam  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +24

    Best picture/headline combo EVER.

  3. alicks  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +3

    Ouch. I’ve been to a few Arcade Fire shows at seated venues and each time they shunned the seating layout and invited all their fans to the front to dance to the music. I thought that was pretty nice of them.

  4. Ashley  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +15

    I dated win and he always made me be the big spoon :(

  5. The genuine kindness of musicians is a make/break deal that determines my favorite bands. I couldn’t stand arrogant assholes in high school; I can’t stand them now.

  6. i tend to agree, on the music aspect… i don’t know them, and probably won’t take Wayne’s opinion… but i’ve always thought their music was awesome. but they have yet to put together an ALBUM that is mind blowing.

    • ??? Funeral?

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • You’re an idiot. They’ve made 3 fantastic albums and all of them are masterful in their own way.

          As for Win being an asshole…I don’t see it. Maybe Wayne ate too much acid one night in Tulsa and got a little confused. I mean, when The Boss and Mavis Staple and David Bowie all love the guy I got to believe they’re alright. But then again…you never know. Wayne is a person with a giant heart and is open to endless amounts of love and understanding…

    • A lot of the indie bands from the early 2000s, that were so promising, have been really a let down. Arcade Fire are one of the very few that haven’t made a single mediocre album. Indeed in 99% of the best albuns lists of 2000 Funeral were generally on the top 5….and personally I like even more Neon Bible and Suburbs. Since you like their music I have a hard time to understand your comment. I have no idea how much of a better album you want from them

      • BTW, just reading your comment again I understand that I’ll never get it what you mean: “There are just a couple of songs that don’t seem to fit. Great tunes, but not in the concept of the album” WTF? Really high standards my friend…But I can recommend you one album that might fulfill your criteria great tunes/concept/whatever: Sgt. Pepper’s

  7. Peyton   |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    Was anyone at their Austin show a few years back? Win took a bass to his wife (Regina?) and pushed her off the stage. Then she cried. The end. I think, at the very least, Win is probably an asshole (given that he thrust a bass into his wife repeatedly forcing her off stage while she cried and the crowd went silent). Though I didn’t quite get that from the other members. Course, it’s been a while and they’ve gotten way more attention since that tour so maybe. Either way I’ve heard great great things about Wayne from multiple friends who’ve met and spoken with him for great lengths. He’s probably telling the truth about Arcade Fire. He’s no Kanye. Much luv Yeezy.

    • Was this the 2005 show at Stubb’s…night before they played the ACL fest for the first time? If so, I have no recollection of that happening…strange, though I do remember Win cutting his hand and doing some kind of slow stage dive near the front – perhaps I missed it if this was indeed the show you’re talking about – in any event…at the ACL festival that year, my girlfriend spied the tall red head, Richard, and the short dummer, in the crowd during Walkmen and she asked for a photo and he wasn’t very thrilled she had asked – it’s not like he’s a ‘celebrity’ or anything…oh well

    • frausty  |   Posted on Mar 5th, 2009 0

      Win did shove his wife with his guitar, and she may have been crying. But it was after the song Haiti and they were both acting. Obviously. Or so I thought…

  8. Mehdi  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 -3

    I’m not gonna speak on this subject because I have never had any interaction with the Arcade Fire. Shit I just did speak about it. Ok, might as well. Yeah so I don’t know these guys so I don’t know if they treat people like shit or not, but accodring to Wayne they do so…

  9. Kyle  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 -1

    the twice that I saw them they were awesome to the crowd (including inviting us all up on the stage during “Wake Up”)

    Are they actually dicks or are they just self-serious? People throw the pompous charge at U2, too, even though Edge is the “sweetest guy ever.”

    • Good point. I’m not sure but this sounds like both. I could see Win being a prick or whatever to his crew and bandmates, but I’m not sure I would say he’s a dick to the crowd. They tend to be pretty crowd friendly compared to most bands.
      Wayne seems like a good guy, but on the other hand he also seems like the sort of dude I couldn’t be friends with. If he tried to talk to me I’d probably be a bit distant and short. Maybe Win is like me.
      Maybe we both just assume that Wayne does a lot of hard drugs and wants to talk about crazy shit that we don’t wanna talk about!

      Or maybe Arcade Fire are a bunch of dicks. Who knows? I would only argue that they seem to treat the fans pretty good, but at the end of the day I can’t care.

      John Lennon was a prick. Thom Yorke was a prick in the old days. Lots of great artists are pricks… thats part of what makes them more interesting than me.

      • Dark Horse  |   Posted on Mar 19th, 2009 +3

        John Lennon could, and would, sometimes make an ass of himself; this behavior didn’t make him an asshole. It made him pretty much just like the rest of us: human. Your gross generalization completely diminishes and marginalizes the range of human behavior into George Bush-ian absolutes. People aren’t one thing or another. Win Butler has probably acted like a total asshole on occasion, as has Wayne Coyne and the Edge and the rest of us. Keeps things interesting man.

  10. Someone said something nice about U2!

  11. does the inherent niceness of being a mormon cancel out the inherent niceness of being canadian?

  12. withheld  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +3

    well yeah, compared to Wayne Coyne pretty much everybody is a jerk on some level. i love how he’s trying to ‘out’ them though – didn’t he do the same thing w/ Beck a few years back after they toured with him? maybe this is Wayne’s real passion – exposing overrated, pretentious rock stars for what they really are… nothing but a bunch of whiny d-bags

  13. citibank  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +4

    A couple years back there was an RS article about Arcade Fire. In it, the writer related a story of driving with Win somewhere, and Win getting a call from his manager, and asking the writer to get out of the car so he could speak to the manager in privacy. The writer ended up having to walk to wherever he was going.

  14. Train  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    Awesome!! Enough said.

  15. The Left Banke  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    I woke up with Marnie Sterns “Steely” on my mind…

  16. The Mayor of SXSW doesn’t lie. But I still love Arcade Fire’s music.

  17. Guy  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 -4

    Every artist is always at some point called pompous or a ‘prick’ because people are jealous of their talent and/or success and want to be treated like their best friend, which of course doesn’t happen.

    • fush  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +4

      wayne coyne isn’t jealous of ANYONE’S talent.

      • dane  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +2

        Wayne is jealous of Win’s talent? The Arcade Fire haven’t approached anything even remotely as good as the Soft Bulletin.
        Eat my dick.

  18. Majesty Snowbird  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    Haha, that’s fantastic. I tend to side with Wayne, but that’s only because I’m taking his word for all this…

  19. action bastard  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 -7

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  20. I totally agree with Wayne. While I never met anyone in the band, their publicity shots have always been dicks to me…

  21. Joe  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    Win and Regine live in my neighbourhood, I’ve met them on a couple occasions in local cafes and they are super nice people.

  22. I bet they stole Wayne’s basketball too!

  23. Andrew  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 -2

    The guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or he had a bad experience… or jealousy?
    I’ve seen these guys quite a few times and I somehow have gotten backstage every time and hung out with the band. They’re always very friendly and polite. Win went out of his way to get me a drink and my girlfriend a brownie. Very friendly normal guys – dont treat people like shit or act like they are the shit.

  24. ? ??

  25. Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne is jealous of Arcade Fire? plz.

  26. kurt  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    what about that one time Win stole that kid’s basketball?
    anybody remember that? maybe that was all true.

  27. Some guy  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +5

    I think maybe the Win and whomever else he’s talking about in the band could possibly not be as extroverted as Wayne. I think people as outgoing as Wayne expect everyone else to be as much so sometimes. Wayne’s a super nice guy, but perhaps there was a misunderstanding between them.

  28. Laura  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    Well, they certainly don’t treat their fans like shit. Just because they aren’t running around hugging people all crazy style Wayne Coyne like doesn’t mean they’re assholes. I think they are just a little more serious/reserved.

  29. nathan  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    Wayne Coyne calling someone cocky? Wow! He’s the cockiest person in the world, walking aroudn Oklahoma like he’s God’s gift to everyone, even showing up at art events just to be seen. The dude’s a dick. I can say that from personal experience, but I won’t say anything on the Fire as I haven’t met them…though I agree that they’ve yet to put together a perfect album.

  30. zoo-logist   |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +2

    I met Win last May. I gotta disagree with Coyne; he was the complete opposite of an asshole. Friendly, talkative, funny…everything I’d expect out of Wayne as well.

  31. the idea of wayne coyne being jealous of anyone makes me LOL TO THE MAX.

    anyone remember the soft bulletin?

    humiliation neon bible comparatively.

  32. I saw The Flaming Lips during their short set at Toronto’s inaugural Virgin Festival a couple years back. Due to noise laws and the fact that The Dears and Muse took too much time on stage, The Flaming Lips only got through the first half hour of their set. Wayne helped his crew set everything up on stage, he didn’t make a fuss when the band was forced to stop playing and then he stuck around and talked to fans afterwards while they took everything down. In the back of my mind, there is no doubt that Wayne Coyne is a nice guy and lives by a strict code in terms of interacting with his band, crew and audience.

    The closest I’ve come to meeting the Arcade Fire is when an associate of mine had the producer of Funeral eat her bagel while she was hanging out with Basia Bulat.

  33. 2Nose  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 -4

    Wayne critiquing their ‘pompousness’…meanwhile the guy regularly performs in a giant bubble, walking across the crowd.
    Personal opinon? The Arcade Fire always seem to love their fans everytime I’ve seen them…I can’t deny that there seems to be a hint of jealousy that their grandiose stage performance and music has been more widely accepted than his own.

    • Andrew  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

      this may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.

      • 2Nose  |   Posted on Mar 10th, 2009 -2

        Reasoning? Or does it suffice to give generalized comments with no evidence behind it these days? Seems to have worked for Wayne in this article.

        • People act like Wayne is “pompous” because of his big crowd surf bubble and that he doesn’t play guitar… well:
          A. The crowd loves the bubble
          B. He has to be in a protective bubble so that he doesn’t get “crowd aids”. You see all that blood everywhere in the photo up top!?
          C. He has said in interviews he is not the “musician” of the band, he is the “entertainer”, he isn’t good on guitar and he has said that himself.
          D. He didn’t say they were bad musicians… He just obviously had some bad experience with them (first impressions are everything), and he said some stuff on the phone that should maybe have been kept private. But hey he DOES do a lot of drugs.. (or DID, but i bet DOES).

    • Have you ever been to a Lips show, 2nose? It’s like the most fun thing ever.

  34. Methinks Wayne needs to make sure he has enough oxygen in that giant hamster ball.

  35. Anonymous  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 -2

    They’re not assholes they are french canadians, Wayne just doesn’t get it. [/sarcasm]

  36. Names.  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    Honestly, I’ve had the rather lovely good fortune to encounter Arcade Fire on enough occasions to pick them over Coyne.

    Luv ya and all Coyne, but those folks have never been less than Disney-character nice to me and mine.

  37. OldManRock  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    I like Wayne but maybe his passion is not so much the outing of (other?) pretentious rock stars but the passion of grabbing a headline. To defend the more commercial sounding Soft Bulletin, he might dis Sonic Youth for not changing their sound enough over the years. Years later, he’s dissing Dylan for changing his sound too much. And when the Lips’s sound has settled into a rut, he dismisses experimentation in favor of putting a “great show”. They’re like the new Grateful Dead and I’m sure that’s a compliment to Wayne. That Shade of Gray suits him well.

  38. Jim-Bob  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    But, more to the point, Wayne– why have you not made anything other than complete shit music going on several years now?

  39. WTF Wayne?

    i’m sorry… but i’ve had the great pleasure of meeting and hanging out with the members of Arcade Fire on various occasions over the last 5 years, and I will tell you straight up they are some of the nicest people i’ve ever met, “famous musicians” or not, they are just truly good people, every single one of them. I won’t name names, but some of the members have reached out to me way more than I would have ever expected given my position, and for that, despite that I love their music, will always mean a lot to me.

    Win might just be fairly misunderstood and people maybe don’t get his dry sarcastic sense of humor, but that doesn’t mean he’s an asshole (takes one to know one anyway) either.

    maybe i’m oversharing, but I’ve witnessed first hand how well they treat their crew at an end of tour celebration in Berkeley in ’07. I can’t say that i’ve experienced anything else like that with other bands in the past (gifts, accolades, huge cheers, great speeches about how much they truly mean to the band, etc.)

    Now i’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Wayne on two different occasions, and yes he was SUPER super nice… but to the point that it almost seemed like a put on too. Just ask Beck about Wayne, you might get a different perspective than he puts forth to his fans publicly…

    • Zipzapzopzoup  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

      You run an Arcade Fire fan site. You expect us to take your opinion seriously?

      • You make anonymous posts on the internet, critiquing other people. Do you expect us to take you seriously or not consider you a cowardly douchebag?

        • Zipzapzopzoup  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

          Hilarious! I wasn’t critiquing him, I was suggesting that his love of the band might preclude him from being a good judge of character, as in perhaps he’s just too darn chuffed at hanging out with his idols to give us a fair take.

          And I duly apologize for not using my real name, Captain, sir. What branch of the service are you in again?

          • uhm… they’re not my idols. i don’t look up to them, i don’t hold them in some high regard.

            they’re just people who make music i happen to really like.

            i’ve never hung out with them strictly as a fan, i’ve never asked for an autograph, i’ve never asked to get my photo taken with any of them, etc.

            you don’t know the extent of my relationship with the band, so don’t assume.

            i could have easily made my comment anonymous, but why bother?

          • and to clarify, i’m sorry if my initial comment came off as bragging, was not the intention. just wanted to state that i’ve met both of the artists in question and have had good experiences with both of them.

  40. I saw AF in Columbia, MO at a small place called Mojo’s right before Funeral really blew up. Before hand I asked Win and Richard for a photo, and they were totally cool about it. Although I’m pretty tall, those dudes are giants; and because we held the camera Win’s head got cut off in the picture. No point to this story really, I just didn’t see the pompous side that day I guess.

  41. Mitch  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    I have seen Arcade Fire shows twice and at both concerts the band was nothing but awesome with fans (one being their epic 2007 Coachella performance where Win did a full on Bono impersonation by jumping into the crowd during “Rebellion (Lies)”) . After the final encore at the other show I saw, Win ran down the front of the audience barrier and ethusiastically traded high fives and fist pumps with everyone who could reach out. Both shows were among the most intimate concert experience of my life.

    I have no idea what Wayne experienced, but as a fan, Arcade Fire have been nothing but awesome. They play their asses off every night and were genuinely great to their crowds.

  42. Jenny Decimal  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    No, sorry Coyne. This doesn’t fly for me. Not one little bit.

    Beck not current enough for you?

  43. Wayne is a sweetheart. He’s on a whole different planet, for sure, but a very nice guy. The only other time I’ve read about Wayne doing this was, yes, Beck. I’m inclined to believe him about this, too. It shows in something as simple as an interview. Being interviewed is not hard, and it’s certainly not hard to let the interviewer know you don’t want to answer a certain question and to do it politely. Arcade Fire seems uncomfortably antagonistic in every situation they’re put in.

    Jealousy is really a non-issue in this situation because there is no comparing The Flaming Lips to Arcade Fire. Not necessarily better or worse, but in terms of time, band members, albums, and impact… no argument.

    2 cents.

  44. Blair  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    I find myself believing Wayne for some reason. And if it’s true that they’re assholes, it’s pretty sad and disheartening. Kudos to him for calling anyone out on their shit, because nothing annoys me more than artists who piss on the people who play some kind of role in their success. I’ve met quite a few artists and thankfully they all turned out to be cool and friendly people. Though I find it interesting he mentioned Justin Timberlake when he was younger because the guy is an asshole now.

    • FlimFlam  |   Posted on Mar 8th, 2009 +1

      Fans didn’t make anyone famous. Famous people make the fans. If they weren’t writing good song and putting on good shows they would have less fans. They don’t owe the fans anything, the fans got albums and concerts in exchange for money.

  45. gimme  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    i, for the record, never liked arcade fire and i never will

  46. rad235  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    “I met Win last May. I gotta disagree with Coyne; he was the complete opposite of an asshole. Friendly, talkative, funny…everything I’d expect out of Wayne as well.”

    – he was probably trying to fuck you.

  47. Popcorn Blizzard  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 -1

    I sucked Win off once. It was the best!

  48. rad235  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 -1

    “I met Win last May. I gotta disagree with Coyne; he was the complete opposite of an asshole. Friendly, talkative, funny…everything I’d expect out of Wayne as well.”

    – he was probably trying to fuck you.

  49. Dav  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    from p4k:

    UPDATE: Final Fantasy’s Owen Pallett has entered the fray! He Tweeted (is that a word?): “Win might not be all hugs and rainbows and kittens, but neither is he drug culture, confetti, pot paraphernalia and bullshit.” Ooohhhh

    he deleted it though

    • The Lips disowned drugs a long time ago. And they’re very public about it. They even show PSAs during their shows… and not strictly in the ironic sense.
      Arcade Fire does still put on one of the few live shows to come close to rivaling a Lips extravaganza, so this is a very compelling would-be feud.

  50. Names  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 +1

    Ugh. Honestly, I’ll think far less of Wayne Coyne after this than I will of Win Butler.

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